Maria Wins First Race

Maria Wins First Race

Bruce Stewart

10th September 2020.

Rookie trainer Maria Murrell comes from a thoroughbred racing and equestrian background but today at Winton she trained her first Standardbred winner when Bardot won a fillies and mares race.

Bardot warming up for driver Brent Barclay

Murrell worked for the late Kelly Thompson for a number of years and had a few race day rides.

She was also the original owner and operator of the popular Make N Bake bakery in partnership with her sister Angela.

She took on another venture when last season she became a licensed trainer, after Bardot was sent south by Canterbury trained Brendon ‘Bennie’ Hill.

“She’s had problems with ulcers, was a bit nervy and lost a lot of condition so Bennie thought the Southland grass would be good for her,” Murrell said.

Bardot winning comfortably at Winton today – Photo Bruce Stewart

Back to the birdcage as it starts to rain – Photo Bruce Stewart

Bardot looked really promising when winning her first start as a three year old in the Listed Harness 5000 in February 2018 at Addington.

Murrell, who lives at Mona Bush, has used both Young Quinn Raceway and Ascot Park to train Bardot.

“She’s been a bit nervous but is settling down. It’s been a bit of a learning curve and a bit different for me. There’s a lot more gear. Gordon Lee, who had less horses to work, showed me how to put on the hopples and things. He’s been really good.”

Andrew Patterson, Maria Murrell, Bardot and Brent Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Bardot is owned by Murrell, her ‘stable foreman’ Andrew Patterson, Bruce Martin and John Higgins. Higgins raced her dam Hemisphere which won three races, two as a two year old including the Group Three Nevele R Stakes at the Cheviot meeting.

“We tried to get her (Hemisphere) in foal to Christian Cullen but she wouldn’t take so we sent her to Stunin Cullen.”

Unfortunately Higgins hasn’t had much luck in breeding from the daughter of Badlands Hanover. Two of her foals have died, while in 2019 she didn’t get in foal to Sweet Lou.

Her only other foal Hepburn – a five year old Bettor’s Delight mare qualified recently and has had one start for Murrell.